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Bang for your gasoline dollar

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Professor Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute has studied how much economic impact US driving actually creates. Since 2007 when a peak of 3 trillion miles were driven, the number of miles has fallen to 2.95 trillion, approximately 2.9%. The is the equivalent of 48 million bbls of gasoline no longer being used by US drivers.

In the study, using GDP figures from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis and mileage data from the Federal Highway Administration, Professor Sivak has calculated the amount of GDP generated per mile driven in each of the 50 states and the District of Colombia.

US$ GDP per mile

In 2011, the District of Colombia had the highest GDP per distance driven, or in monetary terms, US$ 30.04 in GDP per mile driven. Alaska came in second with US$ 11.16, New York third at US$ 9.16, Connecticut fourth at US$ 7.23 and Delaware fifth with US$ 7.13.

Southern sates seemed to be at the lower end of the scale with Mississippi generating US$ 2.51 of GDP per mile driven, Alabama US$ 2.75, New Mexico US$ 3.12, Arkansas US$ 3.23 and Oklahoma US$ 3.29.

The biggest increase in GDP per mile

Calculating the percentage increase from 1997 – 2011, Wyoming saw the largest growth in GDP per mile driven, coming in at 115%. District of Colombia saw an increase of 99%, North Dakota 95%, Alaska 94% and Oregon 89%.

What it all means

A high GDP per mile driven can be a function of two things. Either of high GDP or low miles driven. High GDP may be a function of natural resources, local tax policies, availability of a skilled workforce, or other factors. Lower driving distances may be influenced by more compact urban areas and the locations of larger employers. 

Adapted from a press release by Claira Lloyd.

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